Athletes make the cut, why can’t the rest of us?

Even when Western sports teams don’t win on the field, they’re making the cut in the classroom.

An NCAA report released last week said 57 percent of Western athletes graduate in six years. That number is 2 percent higher than the national athletics average and far higher than Western’s regular student body.

Kudos to the athletic department.

But what about the rest of our students?

Some may say athletes are catered to more than other students.

Coaches get regular progress reports showing grades and attendance for their students. Athletes get tutored. Some sports even have special study sessions for their teams.

Whether you agree with these methods or not, the fact is, our athletes are slam dunking in the classroom.

In our opinion, other students could do better under the same rules.

If athletes don’t make the grade, they may get pulled off the court or lose their scholarships. Other than dealing with a poor GPA or losing some cash, most other students don’t feel that kind of pressure, or get the same kind of help.

But if our administrators ever want Western’s name to appear on a Top 100 colleges list, our graduation rates need to increase. Maybe applying the same rules to other students is the answer.

Here are a few suggestions for making that happen.

•Improve the adviser/advisee system, because frankly, it’s not working for most of us. For an athlete, a coach is the mentor, the person who pushes them to do better. But for the average student, the Hill can be a relatively lonely place.

Many students don’t have in-depth conversations with their advisers. They likely talk to them once a semester- long enough to register for classes or get approval for a degree program.

Most of us could use someone who’s on campus encouraging us. Frankly, sometimes we need a kick in the butt.

•Don’t cringe, but here’s a thought. If students want to graduate, they need to be in class, no questions asked. We’d like to see the university institute a school-wide attendance policy.

Set the number of unexcused absences we can have and what the consequences will be for skipping. Otherwise, the university will have a lot of students sitting at home watching Golden Girls reruns instead of going to Western Civ.

While we’re certain there are plenty of motivated students on campus, there are probably a lot more that need a little encouragement.

Obviously, the athletics department has a system that works.

It’s time the university follows suit for everyone else.

This editorial represents the majority opinion of the Herald’s 10-member board of student editors.